Four Hardy MTB cyclists completed their own lifetime achievement by cycling the height of Mount Everest 8,848m on a mountain bike over a locally named climb called Skelp or named Alpe De Skelp after this challenge, the hill is on the Western Way trail coming from Leenane to Westport.
The short but super steep segment used on the off road trail attracted loads of sporting enthusiasts to the venue to watch the carnage unfold over 18hours, the conditions were near perfect, not too warm or windy and overcast. The backdrop overlooking Clew Bay below looked stunning with panoramic views, not that the cyclists took any notice of the views as their concentration focused on the stoney descent.
To quantify the effort, the 700m segment had 88m of elevation gain with each climb, the ascent took somewhere between seven and nine minutes and the descent for the quickest rider was under 60 seconds.
The descent was used for many years during Gaelforce but the ascent was always feared and not used but for walkers or trail finders.
This segment had to be repeated over 100 times to earn the accolade of being an Everester. For the participants it was mind boggling repetitive, climb so many times (each participant had their own strategy), stop, refuel, drink, stretch, check bike, go again, this was completed over and over again until the task was completed.
Bryan Hyland one of the organisers was unfortunate in that he had to be pulled from the event due to exhaustion and dehydration such was the extreme nature of the challenge, but after some medical intervention he came around to cheer home the four finishers; Padraig Marrey Ballinrobe, Rachel Nolan Ballina, Colin Loughney Hollymount and Trevor Costello Islandeady.
The challenge was in aid of Mayo Mental Health services and Croi. If you would like to Donate in support of this incredible challenge go to www.idonate.ie/